The Raging Quiet by Sherryl Jordan

The Raging Quiet by Sherryl Jordan

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The novel, The Raging Quiet, written by Sherryl Jordan, portrays the ignorance, suspicion, and prejudice that people feels towards other individuals who have done nothing wrong except for committing an unforgivable crime of being different than the rest of the society. Upon arriving in Torcurra, the protagonist, Marnie, finds herself an outsider in this remote seaside village. Alone in this place filled with unwelcoming villagers, Marnie befriends with two other people, a local priest and a madman named Raven. Like Marnie, Raven is also shunned from this village. When people see the growing relationship between him and Marnie, false accusations are immediately made about them, which add even more pain and suffering to their loneliness in this society. This story deals with the victimization of those who are different from others due to the superstitious beliefs of the villagers and their fear for the new and unknown.
After her forced marriage with Isake Isherwood, Marnie and her husband arrive in Torcurra as foreigners, and she soon becomes a social outcast. Rumors and mutters fall upon this couple when the villagers learn that they occupy the old and isolated cottage used to be the home of the witch who was burned during a witch trial. When Marnie goes to the village market on her second day in Torccura, "[the market] was crowded and noisy, but the voices dropped as [Marnie] approached. She felt curious stares, and heard whispered comments. It took all her will not to run" (47). Marnie also heard someone murmured "They must be sore in need of a solitary life, to occupy that house" (47). The residents, filled with superstitions, could not accept the fact that Marnie and Isake live in a house that is evil and cursed and once occupied by a witch. Already unhappy with her marriage, she felt even more dreary and depressed with the hostile attitude of the villagers. The village priest, Father Brannan, who is the only welcoming person, remarks to Marnie that "Most of [the villagers] have lived in this place for generations, and they know one another's fathers and their fathers before them. They feel threatened by newcomers, especially people they know nothing about" (49). The villagers act toward the newcomers with ignorance and suspicion because they know nothing about Marnie and her husband. Then, unfortunately, just two days after her marriage, Marnie comes home and finds her husband dead from falling off the roof.

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Immediately, suspicion towards the protagonist intensifies. Father Brannan confronts to Marnie that "the people in Torcurra think you [Marnie] caused your husband's death […] they don't let go an idea easily, once it's rattled around a few times in their skulls. I [Father Brannan] managed to make them see it wasn't murder, but now they think you put a spell on Isake, and by that caused this death" (76). Even with a villager witness to prove the innocence of Marnie, the rest of the villagers are still firmly convinced that the death of Isake is not merely an accident but caused by Marnie. This wrongful accusation is caused by the feeling of prejudice against Marnie, who has committed nothing except for being different from the other villagers.
Aside from Marnie, another major character in the story, named Raven, has been long treated as an outcast because of his differences from the others. Raven is unlike everybody else; he is what Marnie later discovers, deaf. Nevertheless, the villagers do not understand this fact, and they persistently believe that he is possessed with devils and call him the madman: "He's dangerous, freakish. One moment he's almost like us, the next — gone! Possessed by madness, his soul flown somewhere too terrible to think about" (75). When people speak to Raven, he could not hear nor comprehend what they say, and therefore gets extremely frustrated. Father Brannan tells Marnie that "the noises are the madness in him. He doesn't have a mind like ours" (75). Raven sees people opening their mouth, so he does the same, but only sounds of wild and strange cries come out of his mouth. Hearing this berserk bellow, the villagers think that he's evil and regard him as a wild and mad beast. When Marnie brings Raven to Fernleigh, "Marnie noticed that people were watching them, and some were pointing and talking, their faces suspicious and disapproving" (155). Even in Marnie's own village, people are also suspicious and do not approve of Raven. When Marnie's mother, Dedra, sees Raven, she stares at him with fear and loathing and calls him dangerous. Just because Raven is deaf and not like the others, people will not accept him for who he is and are determined to believe that he is inhuman and malicious.
As the story progresses, the similar situation between Marnie and Raven allow them to forge a deep bond, but the suspicious villagers see Raven's transformation as evidence of Marnie's witchcraft. Because of the difficulties in communicating with Raven, Marnie invents a sign language using their hands. As time passes, Raven becomes more gentle and well-mannered. When people witness this surprising change in Raven, they proclaim: "She's a witch, father. She's laid a spell on Raven, and put him and his devils under her power. She makes magic in the air with her hands, and commands him in ways that aren't natural, and he obeys" (202). The villagers are fully convinced that Marnie has put a spell on Raven to tame and control him. They even believe that she tempts Father Brannan to her house, and then puts an evil spell on him as well. While the local priest is away from Torcurra, the villagers use this chance to capture Marnie:
Then they were all around her, clutching at her arms, spitting at her,
dragging her toward the wagon. She pulled back, stumbled, and fell, and
someone kicked her in the stomach. Retching, she tried to crawl away; but
feet and legs surged about her, and rough hands were hauling on her
clothes, dragging her by the hair, wrenching her arms and legs, and
punching her. (198)
This illustrates the prejudice and brutality against Marnie just because she is the only person in the village willing to accept Raven and give him a chance to be himself. Instead, they accuse her of being a witch and put her on a witch trial. However, after Marnie passes the ordeal with the help from Father Brannan, people still regard Marnie as the witch. One of the children called out to Marnie "You're the witch, aren't you?" (249). This demonstrates how stubborn the villagers are. Even though it is proven by the trial that Marnie isn't a witch, she is still known as the witch who uses strange hand magic. The villagers of Torcurra simply cannot accept the fact that Marnie and Raven are truly in love, but rather a spell that is put on a possessed madman by an evil witch.
A great deal of suspicion and ignorance fall upon Marnie because of her differences with the other villagers. The villagers in this novel could not accept anyone who is not the same as them. Marnie, treated as an outcast the moment she arrives at Torcurra, undergoes a great amount of pain and suffering that the villagers inflict on her. Raven, couldn't help being born as deaf, has never done a single harm to the people of Torcurra, but he is still rejected from the society because the villagers are afraid of people who are different than themselves. When these two outsiders develops a strong relationship, the villagers, again, could not tolerate them and even determinately accused Marnie of witchcraft. On the whole, this story depicts how a person who is different from other people can be looked upon as a threat and is treated with intolerance by a society.
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